UK Government Funds post EU funding

Levelling Up Fund

The Levelling Up Fund supports town centre and high street regeneration, local transport projects, and cultural and heritage assets.  The competitive fund is worth £4.8billion across the UK, with at least £800m to be set aside for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland over four years from 2021 to 2025.

The results of the second round of the Levelling Up Fund were announced in January 2023, with £2.1 billion awarded to 111 projects. Combined with the first round approvals, the Levelling Up Fund has awarded £3.8 billion to 216 projects.

The projects are designed to create jobs, drive economic growth, help restore people’s pride in the places where they live and spread opportunity more equally.  Successful projects in Wales were awarded £208m, including £105m for the following projects in the Cardiff Capital Region:

  • £50m for Cardiff Crossrail Phase 1. This will help deliver a new line between Cardiff Bay and Cardiff Central Station, improving travel for thousands of people who travel daily between the stations.
  • £18m to transform the Grand Pavilion Porthcawl, one of the most recognisable buildings in South Wales, which has deteriorated after years of piecemeal refurbishments.
  • £9m to build a new engineering campus for 600 young people in Blaenau Gwent that will offer the next generation of engineers an extensive programme of apprenticeships and industry placements in the area.
  • £7.6m to transform derelict buildings into the Pontypool Cultural Hub, a thriving cultural centre with a new restaurant to boost the night-time economy.
  • £20m to build a state of the art leisure and wellbeing hub in Caerphilly, including a new gym and swimming pool.

105 successful bids under round 1 were announced on 3 November 2021, ten of which were in Wales.  Within the Cardiff Capital Region there were three successful bids in RCT:

  • £5.3m to refurbish the Muni Arts Centre in Pontypridd, helping secure the future of the Grade II listed building.
  • £3.5m for Porth Transport Hub. The new hub will be an integrated bus and rail interchange, located in the railway station.
  • £11.4m to deliver the A4119 Coed Ely dualling schemes in Pontypridd. The major scheme will provide 1.5km of dual carriageway and a separate shared community route from Coed Ely Roundabout to Llantrisant Business Park – along with a new active travel bridge crossing the A4119 south of Coed Ely roundabout, to provide a new shared community route into the village.

The UK Government has also confirmed there will be a further round of the Levelling Up Fund.

View the list of successful bidders for round 2 of the Levelling Up Fund

View the list of successful bidders for round 1 of the Levelling Up Fund

Shared Prosperity Fund

The Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF) was first proposed in the 2017 Conservative Party manifesto.  The vision for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund is to help level up and create opportunity across the UK for people and places.  The UK Government has committed to total domestic UK-wide funding at least matching EU receipts, on average reaching around £1.5 billion a year.

The Shared Prosperity Fund supports the levelling up objective of building pride in place and increasing life chances through three investment priorities:

  • Community and Place
  • Supporting Local Business; and
  • People and Skills

In Wales, the UK Government supports delivery across the regional strategic geographies of South East Wales / Cardiff Capital Region, North Wales, Mid Wales, and South West Wales / Swansea Bay.

To access their allocation of funding, each local authority worked with local partners to agree measurable outcomes and interventions that reflect local needs and opportunities.  These formed the basis of an agreed Regional Investment Plan (covering all the Local Authorities in the region) that was approved by UK Government in December 2022. Funding is confirmed for three financial years, and all interventions must end by March 2025.

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council as the designated lead authority, will receive the area’s allocation and undertake strategic management of the fund for South East Wales. The Regional Investment plan recognises that pride in place and increasing life chances can be best achieved by delivery close to local people and businesses and by authorities that understand each place’s unique local context and identity. Interventions will therefore be adapted to suit local characteristics and the differing challenges and opportunities across the region.

A summary of the SPF Regional Investment Plan for the region can been viewed on the CCR City Deal website.

The fund also includes a new £559 million adult numeracy programme for the whole UK, Multiply, which will support people with no or low-level maths skills get back into work. The scheme will offer free personal tutoring, digital training, and flexible courses to improve adults’ confidence and numeracy skills.

The UK SPF Prospectus and supporting documents available can be seen via the UK Government website.

UK SPF allocations to individual local authorities within the Cardiff Capital Region

Individual authorities Core UKSPF Multiply Total
Blaenau Gwent £23,301,572 £4,863,920 £28,165,492
Bridgend £19,116,296 £3,990,295 £23,106,591
Caerphilly £28,272,298 £5,901,499 £34,173,797
Cardiff £34,587,594 £7,219,740 £41,807,334
Merthyr Tydfil £22,698,977 £4,738,136 £27,437,113
Monmouthshire £5,919,533 £1,235,631 £7,155,164
Newport £27,177,563 £5,672,986 £32,850,549
Rhondda Cynon Taf £37,320,994 £7,790,305 £45,111,298
Torfaen £20,431,241 £4,264,774 £24,696,014
Vale of Glamorgan £11,606,505 £2,422,717 £14,029,222
Total for the Cardiff Capital Region / South East Wales £230,432,572 £48,100,003 £278,532,575

Welsh Government Response to the Shared Prosperity Fund

Vaughan Gething MS, Minister for Economy, released a written statement when the fund was announced, expressing concerns that the SPF does not meet the UK Government commitment to match the size of the EU funds Wales has had previously and would have qualified for; and that there is not enough focus on communities most in need.

View the UK SPF allocations methodology note on the UK Government website. 

The statement by Vaughan Gething MS on UK SPF allocations can be viewed on the Welsh Government website. 

A further statement was released by Vaughan Gething when the approval of the Regional Investment Plans were announced by UK Government, highlighting the impact of the delayed approvals.

The statement by Vaughan Gething MS on UK SPF delivery can be viewed on the Welsh Government website

The Strategic Forum for Regional Investment, comprising stakeholders from across Wales, continues to meet to discuss regional investment funding.

View the with the minutes and papers from The Strategic Forum for Regional Investment on the Welsh Government website.

UK Community Renewal Fund

The UK Community Renewal Fund (CRF) aimed to support people and communities most in need across the UK, helping pilot new approaches and programmes to tackle local challenges in preparation for the introduction of the SPF. The innovative projects were selected to align with local priorities and support the investment priorities of the CRF programme:

  • Investment in skills
  • Investment for local business
  • Investment in communities and place
  • Supporting people into employment

Projects were originally approved to run until June 2020 and were then given the opportunity to extend their delivery timescale until 30 December 2022. All projects have now closed.

The CRF was delivered as a stand-alone pilot, with lead authorities managing the programmes at a local level.  UK Government created an index of 100 priority places, based on economic resilience, measured by productivity, household income, unemployment, skills and population density.  However, all lead authorities were able to invite bids and co-ordinate a package of applications up to a value of £3m for their areas.  The prospectus for the £220m investment can be found at UK Community Renewal Fund: prospectus – GOV.UK (

70 projects were approved in the Cardiff capital region totalling £19,610,821.

Read the full list of the projects that were approved across the UK .

Community Ownership Fund

The Community Ownership Fund (COF) is a £150million, UK government fund that helps community groups to protect, through community ownership, assets in their local area which are at risk of being lost.

Groups can bid for up to £250k matched-funding to help take over or run an asset although in exceptional cases, up to £1m is available for sporting assets. In the first round of funding there were three projects funded in Wales valued at £464,258.

The UK Government published an updated prospectus for COF round 2 at the end of May 2022.  Below are the main changes from the first round to be aware of:

  • There is now a two-stage application process. The EOI stage is always open. Applicants will complete a short form (should take ten to fifteen minutes) to check their eligibility and receive feedback on proposals before submitting a full application.
  • Full application forms will only be issued to applicants who pass the EOI stage
  • There will be three bidding windows per year, applications can only be submitted once they have passed the EOI stage.
  • The fund managers aim to give feedback on EOIs within three weeks
  • There is now a limit of two applications per project
  • More clarity is provided in the prospectus around the eligibility for sporting assets and public sector assets
  • The timeline for completing projects has been extended from six months to twelve months
  • 25-year leases are still preferred, however the fund will now allow assets with at least fifteen year leases and reasonable break clauses
  • The requirement for projects to have had a community use in the last 5 years has been removed however assets must still have evidence of past community use.

There are plans to offer development support in the future and the UK Government is currently procuring a provider to support prospective applicants. This is anticipated to be in place later this year.

Assessment criteria that applications will be assessed against remain unchanged.

Projects are advised not to rush their applications and submit when they are ready.  The third bidding window of Round 2 opened on 15 February 2023 and will close on 14 April 2023, with further bidding windows expected in 2023 and 2024.

Read the COF prospectus.